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In the military, especially during a long march or run, the Sergeant Rock will lead a song called a cadence call, military cadence, or jody song to keep his subordinates' spirits up as they train, march, or work around their base or encampment. The songs cover a variety of topics, including the civilian at home who's sleeping with your significant other (i.e. Jody), the amount of Badass your service or unit has compared to the other services or units, the hazards unique to your particular unit or service, your own vulgar and violent tendencies, et cetera.

Although many of the songs are call-and-response, not all of them are. However, they are always sung to the rhythm of the task at hand.

Examples of Sound Off include:

  • Ads for Frosted Flakes cereal over the past few years have adopted one of these as their theme. "We are tigers..." Taken from the Princeton U fight chant.

Anime & Manga


  • Battleground (1949). A jody call used by the protagonists' glider infantry platoon is the theme music of the movie.
  • Full Metal Jacket, for that matter, has quite a few during the bootcamp scenes. (Each line is sung by Gunny Hartman, and repeated by the recruits)

 "Up every mornin' to the rising sun

Gonna run all day 'till the runnin's done

Ho Chi Minh is a son of a bitch

Got the blue balls, crabs and the seven-year itch"

"I don't know but I've been told

Eskimo pussy is mighty cold

Looks good

Tastes good

Feels good

Real good!"

"I don't want no teenage queen

I just want my M-14!"

"This is my rifle, this is my gun,

This is for fighting, this is for fun!"

  • From Sgt. Bilko:

 I can barely move my legs!

Do me a favor and kill me now!

Something, something rhymes with "legs"!

My life is over anyhow!

  • Troops jogging around the military base in Hot Shots are singing the theme from The Brady Bunch as a cadence...
  • Used in D2: The Mighty Ducks, with Gordon riding a go-kart while the Ducks rollerblade along with him.

 I don't know but I been told

Team USA's gonna win the gold

Listen up and listen good

We're all headed for Hollywood

 I don't know, but it's been said

I love scaring kids in bed!

 I don't know, but I've been told

End of the world be mighty cold

  • The title of the movie She Wore a Yellow Ribbon comes from an old marching song (Civil War/Wild West era). Some versions are quite a bit racier than the movie's version.
  • In the film An Officer and a Gentleman, the Navy officer candidates, led by their own Drill Sergeant Nasty chant:

 I don't know but it's been said

that Air Force wings are made of lead.

I don't know, but I've been told

that Navy wings are made of gold.

    • The film also features the Real Life military classic "Napalm Sticks to Kids". Network television showings generally use an alternate take.
  • Lampooned in the movie Stripes, when Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, after joining the Army, begin using "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" as a jody during their first march. Bizarrely, it works really well. Not only the right rhythm to it, it even has a call-and-response section....
  • In Renaissance Man, civilian instructor Bill Rago makes up a jody call about Hamlet. By the end of the film, Drill Sergeant Cass is using it for the new batch of recruits.

 Hamlet's momma, she's the queen

Buys it in the final scene

Drinks a glass of funky wine

Now she's Satan's valentine

  • During one of the training scenes in Space Chimps, Titan tries to start off a round, but Ham is having none of it:

 Titan: I am Titan, I am strong!

Ham: No one wants to sing along!

  • From Kindergarten Cop, during the "Arnold is learning to bond with the kindergarteners" montage and he's leading the kids around the playground in recess:

 Readin', writin', arithematic

Too much homework makes me sick

When it's time to pass the test

Kindergarten is the best!

 I don't know, but I've been told:

Butz's butt is green with mold.

You say thank you, I say please.

Kevin sits down when he pees.

  • In Heartbreak Ridge Gunny Highway orders one of his men to give a cadence after witnessing the other platoon give a rather mundane one. The young man complies and belts out an incredibly rude one... right as they pass by a female Marine. Gunny's look is priceless.

 Model A Ford with a tankfull of gas

Hand full of pussy and a mouthful of ass.


 "Now we sing this stupid song

Sing it as we run along

Why we sing this we don't know

We can't make the words rhyme prop'rly"

Sound off!

(One, two!)

Sound off!

(Many, lots!)

Sound off!

(Er... wot?)!

 Cindy, Cindy, Cindy Lou

Love my rifle more than you

You were once my beauty queen

Now I love my M-16.

 Wash the spears

While the sun climbs high

Wash the spears

While the sun falls low

Wash the spears

Who fears to die

Wash the spears

No one I know!

    • Mat's revived Band of the Red Hand has "Jak O' The Shadows", sung to the tune of the Garryowen

 We'll drink the wine till the cup is dry,

And kiss the girls so they'll not cry,

And toss the dice until we fly,

To dance with Jak O'the Shadows...

  • The Dragonriders of Pern series uses songs as training/mnemonics, and some of them quite fit this mold.

 Drummer, beat, and piper, blow,

Harper, strike, and solider, go,

Free the flame and sear the grasses,

Till the dawning red star passes.

  • * The first Red Dwarf book has Rimmer trying to start "We are tough and we are mean, Rimmer's Z Shift gets things clean!" Nobody wants to join in.

Live-Action TV

  • Band of Brothers: Easy Company of the 101st Airborne sings this one as they run up three miles up a steep hill with a stomach full of spaghetti:

 "We pull upon the risers

We fall upon the grass

We never land upon our feet

We always hit our ass

So highdy highdy Christ almighty, who the hell are we?

Zim zam, Goddamn, we're Airborne Infantry!"

    • They also do several verses of the airborne version of Battle Hymn of the Republic (Blood Upon the Risers) "Gory, gory what a hell of a way to die! He ain't gonna jump no more!" later on.
  • In The Pacific, a company-wide version of "Happy Birthday" turns into "how fucked are you now?"
  • The theme music for the first and second seasons of The Unit was a remixed cadence call, "Fired Up, Feels Good." Somewhat snicker-worthy in that they used a Marine cadence call for a show about Army special ops. Oops. A different theme for the next two seasons.
  • The Australian Late Show released a comedy tape/CD that included,

 I don't know but I've been told

Fitted sheets are hard to fold

 Hey, Starbuck, whaddya hear?

Nothing but the rain[1], sir

Then grab your gun and bring in the cat

Boom boom boom

  • Used in Stephen Colbert's Basic Training experience as part of the "Operation Iraqi Steven: Army of Me" week of shows recorded in Baghdad, Iraq.
  • There was a Rottentrolls spinoff/Christmas Special called Combat Sheep: Don't Flock (or something like that), which included a convention of people who make up training jodys, with many short gags of having one of them speaking solely in cadence calls. One example:

 I must say that I'm in shock;

I've spilled Tango down my sock

  • In the Red Dwarf Season Four episode Meltdown, the waxdroids who Rimmer has appointed himself General of are led in a marching song by a robot Elvis Presley.

 "All we do is a kill and slay

"Don't care we if we get blown away!"


  • Modest Mouse's I Came A Rat

 Well I don't know but I've been told\\You'll never die and you never grow old

  • The late Captain Jack, of Dance Dance Revolution fame, and his (well, their) eponymous song. Makes sense, since Frankie Gee (the lead singer) was a soldier in the US Army, and the military theme was pretty much his entire stage persona.

 Ejo, Captain Jack

Bring me back to the railroad track

Gimme a [gun/bottle/woman] in my hand

I wanna be a [shootin'/drinkin'/fuckin'] man

Left, right, left

The military step

The Air Force rap

The Seventeen is the best

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooo left go right go pick up the step, go left go right go left...

Newspaper Comics


  • Radio station WCPT in Chicago, a progressive (liberal) radio station, used this cadence during commercial breaks several years ago:

 I don't know but I've been told

Right-wing lies are getting old

So tune your dial to 'CPT

Progressive talk for you and me!

Stand-Up Comedy

  • In his 2002 Broadway stand-up show, Robin Williams lampooned the Swiss Army knife's perennial inclusion of a corkscrew, imagining a Swiss Drill Sergeant Nasty explaining to raw recruits how to open a bottle of wine under fire. "I don't know but I've been told, Chardonnay must be served cold..."

Tabletop Games

  • No lyrics are actually given, but the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, and Sisters of Battle in Warhammer 40000 have a wide variety of battle hymns and chants they sing into battle. One popular choice is the Litany of Death.


  • Parodied in Seussical: The Musical with the soldiers chanting "Green Eggs and Ham".
  • In Spamalot, the musical version of Monty Python and The Holy Grail, a cadence is used to foreshadow a character's sexuality and combine a reprise of a previous song with another Flying Circus reference. (If you don't get the joke, watch the Lumberjack sketch.)

 I don't know but it's been said

We're off to war, we're not yet dead

Become a knight and you'll go far

In suspenders and a bra

  • The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) has one for Joshua and his soldiers:

 Gather round it's time to go

Kick some ass in Jericho

Listen up, now here's the news

We're taking Israel for the Jews!

 One, two! One, two!

We not only fought, but we won, too!

Left, right! Left, right!

There's none of the enemy left, right?

Video Games

"I don't know but I been told

Deidre's got a Network Node

Likes to press on the on-off switch

Dig that crazy Gaian witch
  • Jamjars from Banjo-Tooie uses these to explain newly learned moves to the main characters. If you talk to him again, he tries a plain English explanation instead.

 Jump up high and then press Z,

Don't need fly pads or feathers red!

  • In Fallout 3, the Mister Gutsy variants of the Mister Handy droids will quote directly from the "If I should die in the combat zone" cadence when they die.
  • Parodied in The Sims 2 with the description of the Military Recruit career. "I don't know but I've been told, cleaning latrines gets mighty old!"


 We are badass through and through!

Now it's time to take Naboo!

We are tougher than the Hutts!

We will kick these Gungans' butts!

Web Original

  58. The following words and phrases may not be used in a cadence- Budding sexuality, necrophilia, I hate everyone in this formation and wish they were dead, sexual lubrication, black earth mother, all Marines are latent homosexuals, Tantric yoga, Gotterdammerung, Korean hooker, Eskimo Nell, we've all got jackboots now, slut puppy, or any references to squid.[2]

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons had one when Prinicipal Skinner rejoined the Army. Skinner disapproved of the version the recruits already knew, and decided to make it more educational.

 "I don't know but I've been told

The Parthenon is mighty old"

(How old?)

"We don't know!"

    • The Simpsons also had a parody one in the episode where Bart and his friends went to war against Nelson:

 "We are happy, we are merry

We've got a rhyming dictionary"

    • The Simpsons has another reference in the episode where the kids go to military school. "Company L? But they smell!" "Yes, we've all heard the song."
  • In a Taz-Mania short where the family goes hiking and it starts to rain, somebody calls for a cadence and Taz chants:

 Taz hate water, Taz hate water

Taz hate water, Taz hate water

  • Referenced in the Futurama episode "War Is The H-Word" -- the officer's club has a sign outside reading "We don't know but we've been told our beer on tap is mighty cold."
  • "Colonel Hathi's March" from Disney's The Jungle Book. It's sung by the Elephant Patrol whenever they make their entrance about twice in the film (The first time is when Mowgli and Bagheera accidentally run into them while attempting to get the former back to the "Man-village", and the second is when Bagheera asks them to help him and Baloo find Mowgli before Shere Khan does).

 Hup, two, three, four

Keep it up, two, three, four

Hup, two, three, four

Keep it up, two, three four

Company, sound off!

Oh, the aim of our patrol,

Is a question rather droll

For to march and drill

Over field and hill (trumpets)

Is a military goal!

Is a military goal!

Hup, two, three, four

Dress it up, two, three, four

By the ranks or single file,

Over every jungle mile

Oh, we stamp and crush

Through the underbrush (trumpets)

In a military style!

In a military style!

    • There's also the reprise:

 Oh, we march from here to there

And it doesn't matter where

Well, you can hear us push

Through the deepest bush

Hup, two, three, four!

With a military air!

With a military air! (trumpets)

We're a crackerjack brigade

In a pachyderm parade

But we'd rather stroll

To a waterhole

Hup, two, three, four!

For a furlough in the shade!

For a furlough in the shade!

  • In the Family Guy episode "Saving Private Brian:"

 West Side Story, Anything Goes

Two of our favorite Broadway shows

Miss Saigon and Cabaret

Overrated I should say.

 Recruits smell and that's no lie

Hate your guts, gonna make you cry

Call me smart, call me inspired

You're gonna march 'til I get tired.

    • In the same episode

 Drill Sgt: I don't know but I've been told

Army life is mighty bold

Every night before retreat

Yakko: We order out for luncheon meat.

  • In The Oblongs, the Debbies have such a song when earning money for a Girl Scouts (or "Little Amazons") competition. The lyrics contain advice for upper-class debutantes.

 I don't know but I've been told

Marry a man who's rich and old

I don't know but it's been said

Don't sign a prenup when you wed.

 I don't know but I've been told

Gigglepie accessories are seperately sold.

 I don't know but I've been told

Hector's feet have stinky mold.

Truth In Television

  • Truth in Television. Songs like this are very much a part of life in the armed forces, especially during basic training since they allow a person to focus on something other then the monotonous/unpleasant job at hand. A simple Google search for "Jody Calls" will yield many examples of these songs. Unfortunately, the traditional whimsical tone of Jody Calls isn't immune to abuse, and on occasion, soldiers have voiced discomfort about Jody Calls they've felt are too racist or homophobic. This trend seems a minor issue at best these days, and most calls (like the ones listed here) certainly aren't meant to be taken as the literal meaning of their words.


  1. "rain" is a reference to the sound of debris hitting the hull of a Viper as the pilot flies through a cloud of what used to be their target.
  2. (Perhaps because it's a nickname for sailors, often used in a derogatory manner.)
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